IPL 2023: Punjabi commentary winning hearts, getting the love and affection from all over the world: Sarandeep Singh


New Delhi, April 19

While the impact player rule in IPL 2023 has brought in an element of innovation to the game, the addition of more regional languages by digital broadcasters Viacom18 has undoubtedly turned out to be the off-field impact player.

While both television and digital broadcasters are airing IPL 2023 in Hindi, English, Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati and Bengali, Viacom18 also offers the options of watching IPL 2023 in Odia, Bhojpuri and Punjabi.

A quick glance through the social media sites will show you how the Punjabi commentary has captured the attention of the fans watching IPL 2023 online, with Bhojpuri not far behind. Comments of ‘freaking awesome’, ‘so lit’, ‘on another level’, ‘fun to hear’ with tons of laughter and fire emojis shows how Punjabi commentary has struck a chord with viewers in IPL 2023.

“My experience of commentating in the IPL through Punjabi language has been very, very good. We all are getting the love and affection from all over the world for the commentary in Punjabi language. It has come not only from Punjab, but people from outside the state too. I am loving it a lot as it is my mother tongue too,” said Sarandeep Singh, former India cricketer and selector, to IANS in a virtual interaction organised by JioCinema.

According to the 2011 census, there are 3,31,24,726 Punjabi speakers in India, which constitute 2.74% of the country’s total population, with the Punjabi diaspora outside the nation going anywhere between 2.5 to 10 million.

Sarandeep, the former India off-spinner, was born and brought up in Amritsar. Though he later moved to New Delhi, he never lost his touch with the Punjabi language. He recalled how he got a call from Viacom18, asking him if he was interested in doing cricket commentary in the Punjabi language.

“When I heard that, I felt amused as nothing like this had ever happened before in the Punjabi language. But the people there said that they are keen on it and asked me for audition. I told them that if you are definitely doing it, then I am coming on-board.” “Even now, I can’t express in words how much I was over the moon on an opportunity like this to do something in the Punjabi language. I began preparing for it as speaking in Punjabi outside of the commentary box is different to what is said when calling the game,” he adds.

What has made cricket commentary in Punjabi a standout has been the usage of couplets, along with witty wordplay and age-old idioms in describing various scenarios in the game, something which is in complete contrast of the formal commentary in English and Hindi.

A bowler castling a batter becomes “Laah te dande, chala de jhande”. Showing a field placement which could be used to fool a batter is said as “cricket ni poker hai, bluff maareya si”.

Gujarat Titans bowler Josh Little taking out Chennai Super Kings batter Ambati Rayudu becomes “Little ne waddi wicket layi ae.” Powerplay becomes “Vaisakhi ka mela” while a ball sent above the roof of the stands in a stadium becomes “Ae Gaind Bann Gayi Qutub Minar.” Sarandeep disclosed that since the time Punjabi commentary in IPL 2023 has become a smash hit, he constantly gets texts on how he and other panelists can incorporate more of the desi aka the pind-walla way of speaking the language while calling the game.

“I have friends and my mother living in Punjab who constantly tell me the words which I can use during commentary and how to speak more in the desi Punjabi way for describing the game. We also use a lot of idioms and couplets which are used in daily way of speaking with friends and family during the commentary.” Away from the social media admiration for Punjabi cricket commentary, Sarandeep says fellow regional commentators like Kiran More, Saba Karim and Venkatapathy Raju greet him in Punjabi while meeting in the studios. “I had done some commentary previously, but the joy in commentating in Punjabi language for the IPL gives a different happy feeling altogether,” he signs off.

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